Under the Customs Union (CU), Turkey is applying the same common commercial policy measures with the European Union. Together with the Common Customs Tariff, the preferential trade regime constitutes the most important part of the trade policy applied towards third countries.
In accordance with the provisions of the Association Council Decision No.1/95 dated 6 March 1995, Turkey shall align itself progressively within five years starting from 01.Jan.1996, with the Preferential Customs Regime of the EU, which is based on sets of autonomous regimes and preferential agreements. Article 16 of the Association Council Decision and its Appendix No. 10 set out the rules and modalities for this alignment. They also stipulate that Turkey take the necessary measures and negotiate agreements on a mutually advantageous basis with the countries concerned. Turkey will give priority to setting up preferential agreements with countries where existing agreements with the EU are already in place.
The Free Trade Agreement between Turkey and the EFTA States, which entered into force in April 1992, was the first step on the way to the adoption of the preferential regimes of the EU even before the entry into force of the CU. During the period between 1996 2000, priority was given to the countries in Europe that were not then the members of the EU. FTAs were signed with Lithuania, Hungary, Estonia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Slovenia and Latvia. When they became member of the EU in May 2004, the FTAs with these countries ceased to apply. The FTAs signed with Israel, Romania and Bulgaria entered into force in May 1997, February 1998 and January 1999 respectively.
Balkans was another priority area for Turkey. FTA with Macedonia entered into force in September 2000. It was followed by the entry into force of FTAs with Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina in July 2003. With the impetus of the Barcelona Process, the Mediterranean Basin gained importance in Turkeys priority list. In 2004 FTAs was signed with Tunisia and Palestine. The Association Agreements establishing Free Trade Areas with Tunisia and Syria were concluded in the same year. Preferential Agreements signed with Palestine and Tunisia are in force as of 1 June 2005 and 1 July 2005 respectively.
Turkey continues to negotiate FTAs with Jordan, Lebanon, Faeroe Islands, Albania, South Africa and Mexico.
Last Update: January 8, 2007